207. Report Prepared by the National Security Council1
STATUS OF UNITED STATES PROGRAMS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AS OF JUNE 30, 1957
Part 6—The USIA Program
[Here follows a table of contents.]
This report is designed to present the status of the USIA program as of June 30, 1957 and seeks to indicate wherever possible significant trends during the past year and probable trends in the year ahead as they relate to the Agency’s support of NSC objectives.
Attention is invited to two factors which relate to the information program’s support of national security objectives during the fiscal year 1958: the reduction in appropriated funds and Agency efforts to devise new approaches to its task.
In June top officials of the Agency re-examined the program in each country from the ground up. They shaped new plans, activity-by-activity, to redirect emphasis to those overseas areas most vital to attainment of NSC objectives. They also reviewed means of communication to peoples of all areas.
This revision was made to adjust the Agency’s work to an appropriation for the year beginning July 1, 1957 of $15.1 million, a reduction of 16 percent from the previous years.2
Percentage allocation reductions by areas were effected as follows: Western Europe 27; Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa 3; Far East 8; and Latin America 13.
To conform with this change in area priority the following changes were made in allocations supporting the program:
- Language training and area briefing for overseas officers were about tripled.
- Direct broadcasting to Iron and Bamboo Curtain countries remained virtually unchanged.
- Funds for television were cut about 75 percent.
- The motion picture program was reduced materially and emphasis was placed on production of films at posts in critical areas.
- The presentation of information materials to foreign leaders was cut by more than half.
- Approximately 900 positions were eliminated; of these about 600 were nationals overseas, about 100 Americans overseas and about 200 Americans in Washington.
Re-examination of Agency techniques set in motion a number of new approaches which, it is hoped, will increase impact of operations. These included:
- A heavy increase in the straight news content of VOA broadcasts to about two-thirds of program time. This will leave about one-third of program time for features and commentary. The new emphasis is a direct reversal of earlier content when about two-thirds of program time was given to commentaries and features.
- Measures to eliminate all “propaganda” tone from broadcasts and other news output. The new formula will let the facts speak for themselves. For example the U.N. report on the Hungarian revolt was used in text form with no editorial comment.
- Measures to review basic Agency guidance papers and Country programs.
- Establishment of tighter editorial control of information content.
I. Global Activities
A. Major Information Problems
The Hungarian Crisis. The revolt of the Hungarians contained elements which lent themselves to exploitation by the U.S. information program. The spontaneous rebellion of Hungarian youth, intellectuals and working people against their oppressors sent waves of doubt through the ranks of the Communist faithful around the world as the brutality of Soviet repression erupted visibly. USIA had long previously reported the record of Communist oppression but had met in a number of countries, particularly the neutrals, with skepticism or indifference. As the crisis developed USIA moved swiftly to report the Hungarian events on a global front. Operating techniques, worked out during the last 15 years in which the information program had met many tests, were used by radio, press and motion pictures.
News of the revolt was energetically covered by the American and foreign commercial news organizations. The world was unusually eager for authoritative news of the revolt and it is clear that the USIA broadcasts and output to newspapers added materially to the impact of the commercial reports particularly in those underdeveloped [Page 596]countries, including some neutrals, where the USIA reports were a major source of news.
In addition to its role in helping to put the Soviets on the defensive, the Agency’s coverage of the Hungarian trouble had another fruitful impact of long-term significance. This was the fact that USIA’s reporting of the revolt established beyond doubt the credibility of its output. The many skeptics, neutrals and pro-Communists who had long dismissed USIA reports as “mere propaganda,” were now forced by the facts to realize for the first time that we had been telling the truth all along.
With the passage of time interest in the story declined and the information impact tended to recede. Meanwhile it is certain that the Soviets calculated various of their later actions and pronouncements to divert world attention from the evils in Hungary.
The Agency took action to revive interest in the story. Books, films and cross-reporting were used and particular attention was given to reporting the continued efforts of the Soviets to repress those forces within Hungary which continued to resist the regime.
It may be assumed that the Soviets will make every effort in the year ahead to divert attention from the issue both in the UN and elsewhere. In view of such a probable course of Soviet action the Agency has instructed its posts to give priority treatment to the issue and exploit the Soviet embarrassment through broadcasts, the press, films and contact work of our field officers with opinion-makers throughout the Free World and with particular emphasis in the neutralist countries.
Suez. The conflict over Suez presented information problems of unusual complexity. Unlike the black-and-white situation in Hungary the information program was confronted with a number of forces in the Suez situation which did not permit simple treatment.3
From an information point of view it was unfortunate that the sharp advantage gained from the story of Hungary had its edge dulled by the conflict which involved two of our leading allies in NATO. There was no question that Egypt was wronged by the invasion. On the other hand it was equally clear that Egyptian provocations contributed to the wrongful actions. The adherence of the U.S. to principle in the Suez affair was a clear fact which it was possible to exploit. This was done by radio and by our wireless news file which carried texts on the U.S. position to all areas but with particular effectiveness in the Mid-East and Southeast Asia. Comment [Page 597]in these areas favoring the stand which the U.S. had taken were cross-reported and otherwise exploited.
Throughout this crisis fears that a wider conflict might develop greatly stimulated the demand for news throughout the world. The Agency, despite the conflict of interests and sympathies involved, was able to exploit the increased thirst for news by sticking to the facts and by stressing and repeating in its output policies of the U.S. in support of individual liberty, national independence and international cooperation.
- Other Middle East Problems. Throughout the year the following factors heavily burdened our information program: increased efforts of the Soviets to penetrate the Middle East, emotionalism between the Arabs and the Israelis, the drift of Syria into the sphere of Soviet influence, and the vitality of Nasser as spokesman-presumptive of the Arabs. The Agency gave strong information support to the American Middle East doctrine and to the travels of Ambassador Richards to the area. In Egypt alone more than a million pamphlets and news releases were distributed by USIS. The visit of King Saud was exploited.4 Meanwhile U.S. backing of Jordan’s continued independence and economic and military aid to that country were heavily reported.
Disarmament. During negotiations on disarmament, the Agency maintained vigorous efforts to make the United States position as clear and persuasive as possible. Two policy officers were assigned to provide continual guidance on the subject—one in London working directly with Governor Stassen; the other in Washington, maintaining liaison with the disarmament staff here.5 With the beginning of the five-power talks, a top Agency correspondent was stationed in London and received on-the-spot guidance which resulted in balanced news coverage on current developments in both our broadcasts and press output. This work was supplemented by other efforts such as exhibits and films on the “Open Skies” proposal.
It would appear that the Soviets won at least momentary propaganda advantage by use of the simple “ban the bomb” formula. Although this formula had a natural appeal the advantage gained from its use was more shadow than substance. In fact Agency polls on disarmament in Western Europe and Japan showed that as of [Page 598]May and June, 1957, in all these countries at least twice as many people believed that the U.S. was seriously pressing disarmament as believed the U.S.S.R. was so doing. The polls also indicated that large percentages of people were unfamiliar with disarmament.
In the year ahead the Agency plans to give top priority to disarmament. It appears reasonable to assume that the following factors can be successfully exploited: a) The long Soviet record of intransigence and bad faith in international relations, b) The demonstrated sensitiveness of the Soviets to world opinion (e.g., the Soviet yielding on the principle of “Open Skies” after protracted U.S. pressure), c) The reality and substance underlying the U.S. approach and d) The desire of all people for peace.
- Colonialism. Throughout the period under review USIA was forced to cope with the perennial information problem of colonialism and the aggressive posture of the Soviets and Red Chinese as the only sincere friends of people seeking independence. The Agency continued to emphasize the U.S. position of favoring the gradual and evolutionary approach of colonial peoples toward independence. The visit of Vice President Nixon to Ghana provided an opportunity to exploit substantially through all media U.S. intentions to view sympathetically the legitimate aspirations of colonial people for independence and—where possible—to aid those who have gained independence in their progress toward economic and social betterment. In seeking to pursue this approach the Agency had to combat Soviet and Red Chinese propaganda which proclaimed that American policy on colonialism was insincere because the U.S. was unwilling to offend its “colonialist” partners in NATO. It appeared likely that in the coming year U.S. information efforts would continue to face such colonial problems as the status of Cyprus, over which three of our NATO allies are in conflict; the aspirations of Algerians for independence and the desire of Indonesia for West New Guinea.
Communist Gains in Newly Independent Countries. In newly independent countries Communist gains which threatened internal stability and fostered a friendly climate for international Communism posed grave information problems. A prime example was Indonesia, a top priority country in Agency planning. Although the Agency staffed its field organization fully opportunities for large-scale operations were limited. Because of the local political climate it was impossible to conduct an aggressive program. The Indonesian Government appears to have been unwilling to allow the Agency to open two additional centers. Good progress has been made in the English-teaching program and this provides an encouraging factor. In the controversy between the Dutch and the Indonesians over who shall have sovereignty over West New Guinea, the Communists have favored the Indonesians and this has put us at a disadvantage.[Page 599]
Lack of awareness in top Indonesian Government circles of the dangers of Communism and apathy, and lack of organization by Indonesian anti-Communists would appear to indicate that the Agency’s program in Indonesia during the coming year will meet heavy odds.
U.S.S.R. The attempt of the Soviet Union to recover from its major setback, the Hungarian revolt, in turn produced other problems for the information program. The Soviet attempts to re-establish respectability in the international community took the following forms: a frequently repeated posture of being the only real champion of peace combined with intermittent attacks upon what it termed the war-like intentions of the U.S.; a series of seemingly benign efforts to penetrate the Free World, notably the Middle-East and Southeast Asia, and Soviet proposals for cultural exchanges with the West. Throughout the year Soviet emissaries and special trade delegations visited numerous foreign countries. Meanwhile representatives of these countries were invited to Moscow and were offered tempting economic and cultural arrangements and in some instances military aid. All these activities produced some propaganda benefits to the Soviets. In particular the theme of “aid without strings” appears to have made some impression on neutralist countries, some of which had accepted U.S. aid.
The cumulative effect of these Soviet moves meant that the information program faced last year and will continue to face the following problems: a) The Agency must continue to seek to persuade its audiences that the U.S. stands ready to entertain any Soviet overtures which might possibly reduce world tensions; b) The Agency must continue wherever possible to expose Soviet moves designed to weaken the Free World; c) A continuing effort must also be made to convince both our allies and the neutrals that the ultimate Soviet objective of world domination remains as a threat notwithstanding intermittent Soviet gestures of peace; d) Prudent efforts must be made to encourage aspirations for freedom in the Soviet Orbit without inciting the people to open rebellion and e) Wherever possible information operations must be directed toward weakening the cohesion and vitality of the international Communist movement.
- Exploitable Factors. Although difficulties
facing the information program last year seem likely to persist, various
factors probably will continue to prevail which will provide the Agency
with ample basis for profitable exploitation in furthering NSC objectives. These include:
- Continued stirrings of unrest in the Soviet Satellites, particularly Hungary and Poland.
- Growing symptoms of unrest among the students and intellectuals in Soviet Russia and Red China which reflect the natural, [Page 600]irrepressible and long-suppressed urge for freedom of thought, expression and individuality.
- The continuing state of shock produced by the Khrushchev revelations on Stalin at the 20th Party Congress a year earlier.
- Intra-party conflicts within Soviet Russia.
- The continued visible lack of any stable mechanism for succession to top Soviet leadership.
- The Soviet ideological dispute with Marshal Tito.
- Differences in approach toward Communism between the Soviets and Red Chinese.
- Significant Soviet internal developments reflecting pressures for a better life for consumers.
- Major Campaigns. In attacking major problems, the Agency operated a number of campaigns. Although some of these were designed for global targets the Agency operated them selectively. For example although People’s Capitalism was a global campaign, exhibits were scheduled for use only in those countries where the heaviest impact could be made. However all areas used other media to exploit this campaign.
The following is a list of major campaigns:
People’s Capitalism. During the past year the Agency’s promotion of “People’s Capitalism” as a major program theme had impact. The People’s Capitalism campaign was launched in early 1956 as a drive to describe the American economic system, give the lie to Soviet charges against capitalism and to prove the falsity of Marxist-Leninist theory. A central Agency theme is that capitalism in America has undergone a revolution by peaceful and democratic means which has resulted in a system whose benefits are shared by the many instead of the few.
An important Agency instrument in this campaign has been exhibits which were shown in Colombia, Chile, Guatemala and Ceylon. Also scheduled are: India, Mexico, and Bolivia.
Top-level Communist officials and economic experts in the Soviet Union and elsewhere have denounced this campaign repeatedly.
- People-to-People Program. The Agency has acted as clearing house for the committees of private groups and assisted especially with projects involving American foreign policy objectives.
- Disarmament. The Agency supported the U.S. effort to achieve world disarmament by “Open Skies” mutual territorial inspection. “Open Skies” exhibits were shown in London, Rome and Tokyo.
- American Doctrine for the Middle East. Throughout the first half of 1957 the Agency carried on an intensive program to acquaint the peoples of the Middle East with the President’s doctrine.
B. Intra-Governmental Relations
The Agency continued its participation in the activities of the NSC and the OCB and maintained regular relationships with the Department of State. It was thus possible for USIA to move rapidly to cope with fast-moving events and, on occasion, to anticipate important developments. High-level liaison with ICA continued.6 Agency representation in the NSC Planning Board was used to provide rapid and authoritative translation of NSC decisions into program activities.
C. International Conferences
USIA provided worldwide coverage to the many international conferences and meetings held during the period under review.
During the Eleventh General Assembly of the United Nations an Agency policy adviser was attached to the U.S. Delegation to follow the development and direction of U.S. policy in the Assembly and provide guidance to the USIA coverage by press and radio.
Comparable coverage was given to the U.N. Disarmament Commission meetings in New York, the Subcommittee sessions in London and the U.N. Conferences on the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
At the Bermuda Conference of Foreign Ministers, the two NATO Council meetings in Paris and Bonn, the Suez conferences in London and Paris, and the Third Ministerial Council of the Baghdad Pact in Karachi last June, Agency personnel performed a dual function. They directed the flow of information from the American delegates to the world’s press and provided spot coverage to the U.S. posts around the world.
The visits of Prime Minister Nehru, President Diem, Prime Minister Mollet, Chancellor Adenauer and Prime Minister Kishi were exploited to the fullest by media of the Agency to secure maximum benefit among the peoples of their respective countries.
D. Cultural Activities
Cultural activities of the Agency were also carried out by the Information Center Service in support of NSC objectives.
In the continued expansion of assistance to binational centers, the Agency is now providing grantees, materials and cash support to 74 centers in all areas except Europe. This compares with 56 centers in FY 1956. Wide support has been given to Agency activities in the field of lectures, seminars and concerts, as well as information [Page 602]support to the Special Cultural Presentations Program of the Department of State. There also has been close coordination with the International Education Exchange Service of the Department of State.
In the library program, lists recommending current books for program use abroad were supplemented by topical lists supporting broad objectives or specific projects. Of the latter, 380 field requests for one or more books on topics of local field interest were processed with selected titles.
Under the book development program, negotiations have been completed with local publishers for 140 foreign language, low-priced editions of selected American titles which highlight American life and institutions or are anti-Communist in nature. Twenty of the 140 editions were completed and 75 more are scheduled for completion in 1958. In addition, 65 English language editions, including 51 titles, were contracted for a total of 1,600,000 copies, for distribution in the Near and Far East.
The translation program resulted in the publication of 807 editions in 48 languages and more than 7 million copies compared to 706 editions in 46 languages and 6,000,000 copies during the year ended June 30, 1956. In connection with P.L. 480, plans were developed to utilize $10,000,000 in foreign currencies to supply textbooks to 23 countries. The program envisions the printing of 7,500,000 textbooks. Several thousand cultural exhibits, in multiple copies, ranging from posters to pavilion-size exhibits were shown to 3 million registered spectators throughout the world.
USIA exhibits shown in Latin America concentrated on the positive side of democracy in the U.S. These included “Trade Unions in the U.S.A.” and “Atoms for Peace.”
In the Near East, South Asia and Africa, USIS posts mounted 1,386 exhibits on Americana and foreign policy for a registered audience of 5 million.
In Western Europe, exhibits which emphasized disarmament and mutual inspection achieved a registered audience of seven million Europeans.
Contract issuances to facilitate the commercial distribution of books and other educational or information materials through the Information Media Guaranty Program7 totaled $10,576,963 in FY [Page 603]1957 compared with $10,000,000 in 1956. Budget appropriations of guaranty authority limited the program to $10.6 million for ‘57, although the Agency had applications totaling $13 million. The program was discontinued in Austria, France, and Norway. As of the close of FY 1957, nine countries were actively participating, with Burma and Poland requesting to be added.
II. Geographic Area Activities
A. Soviet Orbit
In implementing NSC objectives USIA activities toward the Soviet orbit have sought: (a) to provide an understanding of U.S. policies and objectives; (b) to encourage people of the satellites in their passive resistance to Soviet domination; (c) to contribute to possible weakening of Soviet-Communist bloc ties and (d) to foster evolutionary tendencies advantageous to U.S. interests.
USIA broadcasts to the Soviet orbit devoted greater attention to information on U.S. international actions and important world news developments, particularly those suppressed or distorted by Soviet propaganda.
In reporting the Hungarian uprising, USIA emphasized four central themes: (a) the contradiction between Soviet action and pronouncements; (b) the failure of Communist indoctrination; (c) the rejection of Communist ideology by the very groups which the Communist regime favored (intellectuals, workers and youth) and (to the USSR) (d) the damage to Soviet security caused by repressive Soviet actions in Hungary.
Developments in Poland, which were widely cross-reported elsewhere in the orbit to stimulate pressures for greater “liberalization,” brought a more favorable Polish attitude toward Western cultural and information activities. As a result, an architectural exhibit, “Built in USA,” accompanied by an architect-lecturer, toured several Polish cities and was seen by thousands. The shipping of books is now in progress for a reading room which Embassy Warsaw is planning. A Polish language version of America Illustrated has been approved in principle by the Polish Government. Marking the first anniversary of the secret report of Khrushchev before the 20th Congress of the CPSU, VOA asked orbit audiences whether there had been fulfillment of the promises of improvements stated or implied in the Khrushchev report.[Page 604]
In October 1956, the people of the USSR saw the first issue of America Illustrated, the Russian language monthly published by USIA for distribution in the Soviet Union. Although Russians encountered have commented almost without exception favorably upon the magazine, and wherever observed on sale it has sold out rapidly, the magazine’s potential impact is being reduced by Soviet curtailment of distribution and refusal adequately to display the magazine. It is evident that the Soviet Union is determined to limit sales of America Illustrated at least to the number of copies of the Soviet magazine USSR sold via newsstand or subscription in the United States. It is expected that there may be some improvement if the new distributing agency handling USSR sales in the U.S. can increase its sales.
B. Western Europe
The Hungarian revolt and the Suez crisis reversed significantly the psychological climate in Europe prevalent at that time. A year before the belief was that the danger of war had passed. It changed to a sudden realization of the continuing aggressive character of the Soviet Union when the events in Hungary unfolded and the British and French invasion of Suez was followed by Soviet nuclear threats.
As a consequence of these events the previous uneasiness found in certain European quarters about too heavy U.S. emphasis on the military aspects of the Western alliance turned almost full circle to extreme criticism of the U.S. for relying too much on United Nations procedures and its unwillingness to meet a crisis with anything but peaceful means.
Many influential Europeans publicly discussed the questions of whether the U.S. had decided to relinquish Europe and link its future with the Afro-Asian bloc and whether the U.S. had as its aim the withdrawal of its troops and bases from Europe in an effort to come to an agreement with Soviet Russia at the expense of Europe.
In this general climate of bewilderment and confusion, Europeans uncomfortably realized that the center of world power has shifted from Europe to the U.S. and Soviet Russia. Since they expected nothing from the Soviet Union but regarded the United States as a strong friend, there was some feeling that the U.S. has not acted as such.
This distrust of the U.S. and the difficulty of many Europeans in understanding the motives of U.S. policy varied in strength and degree from country to country. It was strongest in Britain and France, but it was present almost everywhere.
As a consequence of these constant and sometimes extreme shifts and fluctuations in the psychological climate of Europe flexibility became a prime factor in Agency planning and activities in Europe.[Page 605]
Within the NSC objectives, the Agency therefore concentrated on the following objectives in Europe by:
1. Contributing to the “revitalization” of the Western Alliance by showing that the United States continues to regard Western Europe and NATO as a cornerstone of its national policy; by demonstrating that the United States was doing all in its power to alleviate economic consequences of the Suez Canal crisis and to assist Europe to regain its prosperity; by explaining the United States policy of gaining and maintaining the confidences of the newly developing countries and by proving that in the long run this policy will be of benefit to the entire Western world.
To effectuate this program the Agency set up a special coordinating committee and established liaison with appropriate authorities of other U.S. Government elements concerned with the Suez crisis. Radio programs, TV programs in collaboration with BBC, the Wireless File, and newsreel coverage were all employed intensively to demonstrate U.S. concern for and effective efforts to relieve the oil crisis.
2. Stimulating European “integration” efforts by lending non-USIA attributed support to organizations, groups and activities furthering Euratom, Common Market, etc.
3. Promoting dissensions and confusion within the Communist ranks by keeping alive the ruthless suppression by Russia of the Hungarian fight for freedom and thus exposing the Communist Parties in Western Europe.
The Agency set up a special coordinating committee to assure maximum exploitation of the Hungarian story. Photographic coverage, special feature packets, magazine reprints, pamphlets, newsreels, and radio broadcasts were concentrated on keeping the story alive.
USIS Italy put on a special campaign—issued 600,000 copies of an unattributed pamphlet as a supplement to an Italian magazine; distributed selectively the Italian language edition of the Life reprint “Hungary’s Fight for Freedom” and used exhibits and films.
USIS Yugoslavia contrived to have a USIA documentary film on the Hungarian revolution seen by top government and party officials.
4. Explaining the United States position on disarmament by promoting the President’s Open Sky proposal and by showing United States efforts to advance the use of the atom for peaceful purposes.
The Italian Government at the suggestion of and in confidential collaboration with USIS Rome undertook to demonstrate President Eisenhower’s “Open Skies” proposal. The Italian Defense Minister endorsed the proposal on a nationwide broadcast.[Page 606]
C. Near East, South Asia and Africa8
Developments in the Near East, beginning with the Suez conflict and continuing throughout the year, gave USIS missions in this area their most challenging informational tasks. Each succeeding event, whether it was U.S. policy on Suez, the American Doctrine for the Middle East, U.S. support of King Hussein in Jordan, the visit of King Saud to the U.S., or the worsening situation in Syria, required virtually incessant explanation of U.S. policy and motives.
In Egypt, a country whose propaganda influence on the man in the street in the Arab world has been considerable, USIS Cairo engineered a large pamphlet operation to explain the American Doctrine. More than a million copies of eight different pamphlets were distributed and thousands of requests for information were made through personal calls at our information offices at Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said. Several thousand Egyptians came in person to the USIS offices in Cairo and Alexandria to see a special series of films on the effects of Communism.
In Lebanon the Agency-produced film on the visit of King Saud to the U.S. broke all commercial records for a film of this kind.
In Jordan, King Hussein’s success in preventing pro-Communist forces from taking over Jordan led to unprecedented opportunities for the widespread use of USIS program materials. Strong information support was given to Ambassador Richards and his mission to the area. The American Doctrine was fostered through all available media both from Washington and at field posts.
In Syria, a reduced USIS staff continued operations.9 Distribution for the film on King Saud’s visit to the United States was arranged and the film ultimately was seen by a total audience of over 500,000 people. USIS was a principal source of news about King Hussein’s10 opposition to Communist infiltration—news which pro-Hussein papers were publishing, even though the Syrian government was hurling epithets at Jordan and the United States. The Arabic version of “What is Communism” was published with USIS aid and several thousands of copies were sold within a few weeks.[Page 607]
Large economic gains in Iraq were exploited fully. Within Iraq a USIS-produced newsreel attributed to the Iraq government started to appear weekly.
The visit of King Saud to the U.S. was heavily exploited. For the first time, Radio Mecca cooperated with the Agency. It relayed daily broadcasts of the King’s activities. A three-reel documentary covering the King’s visit was made and distributed widely throughout the Arab world. The Hungarian fight for freedom provided an unprecedented opportunity for unmasking Red Colonialism. Following USIS reports to the Indian press and special bulletins to Indian officials, the Indian Government condemned this outrage to freedom.
The visit of Prime Minister Nehru provided a fresh approach to strengthening mutual feelings of good will between India and the U.S. Recognition of the role of U.S in helping India to help itself was accomplished by wider publicizing of U.S. aid and technical assistance.
In Greece and Turkey, USIS efforts concentrated on a review of the contribution to their national welfare made through ten years of U.S. assistance.
U.S. efforts to strengthen Pakistan’s resistance to Soviet pressures were supported. ICA activities were publicized in three full-color motion pictures; distribution of USIS motion pictures to commercial theaters and the establishment of a fully operative Military Forces Information Program. Three Branch Centers were opened in West Pakistan, and lending services were initiated at six USIS Branch Centers.
The drive of African territories for independence confronted the Agency with significantly enlarged opportunities and increased responsibilities. To capitalize on this situation by improving the quality of the African program was a major Agency task during 1957. Emphasis in this effort was given to producing informational materials tailored specifically to African target audiences.
Five major African posts were selected to provide footage for USIS produced African newsreel. To this, editors at Agency headquarters added coverage of the U.S. visits of African leaders and of the activities of diplomatic missions from African countries. Shown in leading theaters throughout Africa this reel portrays U.S. interest in Africa and seeks to build a bridge between Africa and the U.S.
To promote an understanding of the contribution of U.S. aid programs to developing and strengthening African nations, a cameraman-writer was sent to Ethiopia to film the achievements of the ICA program in that country. The radio output tailored for African target listeners included a fifteen minute daily newscast and, for broadcast over local radio stations, specially prepared programs detailing the accomplishments of Negro Americans together with a series of [Page 608]interview programs with African leaders, specialists and students visiting the U.S.
In Somalia and Uganda, where an upsurge in nationalism has placed independence on the near horizon, new posts were established.
On the initiative of Moroccan and Tunisian leaders USIS inaugurated the teaching of English as a means for increasing and understanding of the U.S. and for developing ties with America. The Bourguiba School of American Language staffed by USIS personnel and employing U.S.-slanted lesson material, enrolled 500 Tunisian officials and wives of government and community leaders. USIS staffs in both Tunisia and Morocco are being increased to meet expanded media opportunities.
A four reel color documentary prepared by USIA was shown in all African countries as a follow-up on the Vice President’s visit.11
All USIS efforts in Africa during 1957 were made in the face of Soviet and Satellite intensification of their pressures upon African countries, particularly in the independent nations and those approaching this status. With the close Soviet alignment of Egypt the Communist world gained a significant source of propaganda to African nations. Cairo’s Voice of the Arabs added to its Arabic and Swahili broadcasts, programs in Amharic, Somali and Hausa, stressing the themes of anti-colonialism and neutralism, and exploiting Islamic ties to win support for Egyptian claims to the leadership of African nationalism.
D. Far East
In the free but neutral nations of Southeast Asia, the Agency concentrated on the NSC objective to bolster the will and strength of these countries to resist Communist inducements away from the path of genuine neutrality. At the same time, in those countries allied with the U.S., vigorous USIS programs were aimed at stemming the spreading erosion in local support of their ties with the U.S.
The two major news events of the year, Hungary and Suez, gave the Agency an opportunity to demonstrate basic U.S. opposition to colonialism and support of freedom. The much greater emotional impact of Suez in Southeast Asia, however, hampered the Agency’s efforts to deflect attention toward Hungary.
Despite all efforts, the trend toward accommodation to Communist pressures in the area continued. Communist political power [Page 609]grew in Indonesia. In Cambodia and Laos, Communist China and the USSR gained ground toward local political goals. In the meantime, there were increasing psychological difficulties for the U.S. position in the Philippines, Thailand, and Nationalist China.
In Indonesia, USIS stepped up its activities to meet the challenge of a deteriorating situation, giving heavy play to the Hungarian Revolt and stressing the imperialistic nature of international Communism. Stories along these lines encouraged local press reactions.
In Burma, USIS made a few significant gains despite an elaborate and expanding program of Communist propaganda and cultural exchange activities. USIS moved closer to one of its most important target groups, the University students, and participated in the missions efforts to develop trade relations between Burma and the U.S. In this activity Burmese leaders who had become disillusioned with Communist ideology were a particular target.
In Thailand, USIS in direct support of NSC objectives, focused its attention on second echelon and potential political leader elements in an effort to garner support for the thin stratum of elite now administering the central government.
In Vietnam, USIS concentrated on the general mission goal of stabilizing and consolidating the hold of the present government over its population and territory. Full use was made of Diem’s visit to the U.S. both in Vietnam and other nations of Asia. Special broadcasts to North Vietnam were continued with the aim of creating dissatisfaction with the Viet Minh regime.
In Laos, USIS despite a fluid political situation, continued support of the Lao Government’s civic action program aimed at cementing the loyalties of the population at large and at countering Communist Pathet Lao subversion.
In Cambodia, USIS, handicapped by limitations imposed by Cambodian neutrality, sought to popularize the presence of U.S. personnel in the area and to encourage a spirit of resistance to Chinese Communist aggression.
In the Philippines, USIS concentrated on minimizing anti-American reactions arising from the continued controversy over U.S. military bases and incidents involving armed forces personnel.
In Japan, USIS continued to expose the Communist menace and to develop the conviction that Japan’s best interest will continue to be served by close alignment with the U.S. USIS cooperation with U.S. military units based in Japan has helped significantly in quieting local anti-base agitation. Despite new strength in the conservative forces under the leadership of Prime Minister Kishi and a generally favorable public attitude to the U.S., there is increasing dissatisfaction with present U.S.-Japanese arrangements.[Page 610]
In the Republic of Korea, USIS concentrated on publicizing the growing accomplishments of U.S. economic and military aid. Popular acceptance and cooperation in the aid programs has grown considerably. USIS anticipates a new task of considerable complexity which will evolve from any decisions made to reduce the size of the ROK army.
In Taiwan, USIS motivated in part by the Taipei riots of May 1957 has given added emphasis to activities designed to sustain local morale, to reinforce U.S. prestige among the people and to strengthen Sino-American cooperation. It continues its activities aimed at the overseas Chinese population.
In Hong Kong, USIS continues its efforts to alienate the Overseas Chinese from the Chinese Communists and is supplying other posts with materials on Communist China for dissemination to the native elite audience of Asia and the Middle East.
In Australia and New Zealand, the limited resources of USIS were focused primarily at countering a trend toward recognition of Communist China and her admission to the United Nations. Special efforts were made to support U.S. policy as related to the Suez Canal.
In Malaya, USIS continued normal operations but was preparing to meet the changed conditions that will prevail after the Federation of Malaya achieves its independence on August 31, 1957.
E. Latin America
USIS markedly stepped up its exposure of the Communist conspiracy in Latin America during the past year. Approximately 69% of allocations for the area were devoted to activities in seven priority countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico.
The most important international development used in attacks against Communism was, of course, the uprising and subsequent crushing of Hungary by Russian troops. This development served as a catalyst for anti-Communist sentiment in such countries as Uruguay and Argentina where USIS had previously been promoting wide publicity contributing to protests and demonstrations against the Soviet repatriation drive among resident Slav groups in these two countries. After the Hungarian revolution, all posts gained major ideological and even political advantage in the struggle against Communism through the use of all pertinent media. In Uruguay, for example, the successful Communist drive to dominate organized labor was checked for some months by reaction to Hungary and in Chile according to Embassy estimates, political alliances were affected by it. In Brazil through a locally produced newsreel, without USIS attribution, a nationwide chain of 900 theaters showed a variation of [Page 611]the Agency film, “Hungarian Fight For Freedom” and the Fox chain distributed twenty-four additional prints of the film reaching a total motion picture audience estimated at between 16 and 19 million people. The “Journey for the Liberty of Oppressed Peoples,” sponsored jointly by ORIT (Organizacion Regional Interamericana de Trabajadores) and the ICFTU in Exile and strongly abetted by USIA resulted in a telling propaganda blow against the Soviet Union and its Satellites. The Hungarian refugees who visited Mexico under this program were given extensive media coverage and their visit received plaudits from labor leaders in the country. The project helped combat Communism and at the same time strengthened the free labor movement.
However, while USIA increased its activities in FY 57, Communist Orbit and national Communist propaganda activities have, for many years, been several times greater than ours and, at least in shortwave radio and in cultural centers, increased at a greater percentage than USIA in Latin America during the past year. Our increase, therefore, did not signify net gain over the Communists.
A major obstacle facing the realization of NSC objectives in Latin America is exaggerated nationalism and its concomitant economic statism. In the past year, this has been particularly evident in Brazil but was also apparent in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and to a greater or lesser extent in many other important raw material producing Latin American countries. This attitude, constantly exploited by the Communists, is perhaps the single most important threat to United States security in the hemisphere threatening not only the flow of essential raw materials and our military installations, but also the economic stability of these countries.
To counter the evils of narrow and exaggerated nationalism, USIA activities have pointed, where possible, to the many ways in which the United States has helped the nations of the hemisphere toward the realization of their legitimate aspirations. In this regard, the close cooperation of USIS and ICA missions, greatly increased in FY 57, has been particularly helpful and the contributions of bilateral and multi-lateral technical assistance programs to the economic development of the countries as a whole and the ways in which this development ultimately benefits the individual, have been stressed.
The extent to which private capital, particularly American capital, has contributed to the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Latin American nations, was also stressed by USIA in several countries. Particular emphasis was given to this theme in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil and Chile, in some cases, in cooperation with ICA.
Also on the economic side, the world-wide People’s Capitalism program has been exceptionally well suited to Latin America. The [Page 612]program was introduced to this area with great success at the International Trade Fair in Bogota in November ‘56. In Chile and Argentina, as a result of heavy exploitation of the program, political parties spontaneously adopted the slogan People’s Capitalism in electoral campaigns. Especially in Chile, where USIS and ICA programs converged on this theme, the concept became self-perpetuating with various elements grasping its potential and applying it to their own problems. Thus, the Chilean Stock Exchange instituted a drive for individual investors addressing their appeal to distinct sectors of the population in the context of People’s Capitalism. In Argentina public controversy around the concept, as interpreted in terms of Argentine problems has aroused a serious and courageous, though at times acrimonious, treatment of national issues. Use of this theme was equally successful in Guatemala, and in the Caribbean the importance of the development of private enterprise in Latin America was also stressed by telling the story of Puerto Rico’s Operation Bootstrap. As a result of USIA activities, the slogan, “People’s Capitalism” is now established and understood in Latin America and is an effective weapon against economic statism.
- Source: Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5720. Secret. This paper is a collection of reports prepared by various agencies. Part 6 was prepared by USIA. According to a memorandum of September 11 from the Executive Secretary of the NSC, the annual National Security Council reports were transmitted to members on that date. (Ibid.)↩
- Plus an additional $1.1 million to build new radio facilities in the Middle East. [Footnote in the source text. In a memorandum of September 25, 1956, to all recipients of NSC reports, Executive Secretary Lay transmitted the following changes to this paragraph at the request of USIA: “Change ‘$15.1 million’ to read ‘$95.1 million’ “and “Strike ‘s’ from the word ‘years’ at the end of the line.”]↩
- A more detailed account of USIA activities during the Suez crisis is in a February 1 briefing memorandum from William B. King, Information Area of the Near East, to USIA General Counsel Clive L. DuVal and Theodore Arthur, IOP. (Department of State, USIA/IOP Files: Lot 59 D 260, Suez Canal Crisis, 1956)↩
- Presumably the report refers to the visit of King Saud to the United States. The King met with President Eisenhower on January 30, February 1, and February 8, 1957. (Department of State Bulletin, January 28, 1957, p. 135, and ibid., February 25, 1957, pp. 308–310)↩
- Stephen Benedict, USIA disarmament information policy officer, was assigned by USIA to London during the disarmament negotiations. Benedict sent memoranda to Governor Stassen on U.S. information policy on disarmament. (Department of State, USIA/IOP Files: Lot 63 D 224, Disarmament—Nuclear Test, Stephen Benedict, 1955–58)↩
- Reference is to USIA support of an ICA program pursuant to NSC Action No. 1290–d, Overseas Internal Security Program.↩
- The IMG was authorized by Public Law 472, the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948, and was first funded under Public Law 793, the Foreign Aid Appropriation Act for fiscal year 1949. The guaranty was used to aid U.S. exporters of media materials approved by USIA. The IMG provided a fund of revolving dollars borrowed from the U.S. Treasury that could be used to buy from the exporters nonconvertible foreign currencies that they received from soft currency countries in payment for informational materials sold in those countries. A description of the IMG is in 1st sess., 81st Cong., Foreign Aid Appropriation Bill for 1950, Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives (Washington, 1949), pp. 40–44.↩
- Additional information on USIA activities in the Middle East appears in a classified speech on “Communist Propaganda Techniques in the Middle East” by Deputy Director Washburn on September 12; in Department of State, USIA/I/R Files: Lot 62 D 255, Cabinet Presentation—Government Groups, and in an OCB report, “Inventory of U.S. Government and Private Organization Activity in Connection with Islamic Organizations Overseas,” ibid., OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, Islam.↩
- A more detailed account of a USIA and Department of State psychological campaign in Syria is described in a memorandum for the President of September 28 from USIA Director Larson. (Ibid., USIA/I Files: Lot 60 D 322, Reel 4, 1957)↩
- King of Jordan.↩
- The April 7 report of Vice President Nixon on his February 28–March 21 trip to Africa for President Eisenhower is in Department of State Bulletin, April 22, 1957, pp. 635–640.↩